Punt Return Sparks Tigers
Southern was too much for Shamokin
By: Dave Fegley (Twitter: @DFegs9)
One difference from last year to this year is that the Shamokin Indians came into their rivalry against the Southern Columbia Tigers with a few wins under their belt. Last year, the Indians finished 0-10 on the year, but they came into Friday night’s game with a surprising 2-0 record.
That record wouldn’t last for long as the Tigers rolled over the Indians in a 52-14 victory. “The kids settled down early and started making plays. Unfortunately, it looks like we have another significant knee injury to a key player,” said Southern coach Jim Roth. That player is senior running back Brad Noll, who left the game in the first quarter after only one carry. Noll exited the stadium on crutches and will find out more after an MRI next week according to his head coach.
The Tigers lost their top player, senior Luke Rarig, in the opening week with a torn ACL. This could be the second of the three Tiger captains to have their senior year cut short with a knee injury. “You never want to see that happen, but if it unfortunately does happen I guess that is the position we can afford to have it happen to. Blake Marks came back earlier than expected from his summer injury which helps our backfield depth for sure,” Roth said.
The Indians actually started off the scoring thanks wit a 56 yard pass from senior Tucker Yost to his tight end Logan Mirolli. Two plays later, John Demsko took it in to put Shamokin up 7-0 at the 7:58 mark of the first quarter. That touchdown seemed to motivate the Tiger players because they answered with 46 straight unanswered points. “The touchdown they scored kind of fueled us. Our first team hasn’t really been scored on so far this year, so we made some stops after that to not let them in the game,” said Southern junior Steve Toczylousky.
Marks started the Tigers frenzy of touchdowns with an eight-yard run followed by a three-yard plunge to put Southern up 12-7 in the second quarter. Marks’ second touchdown came thanks to a Hunter Thomas 74 yard run on the previous play. “It’s a little surprising with how well he is doing. This is only his third game with us, and he has made some great plays so far. He’s shown speed, explosiveness, and he likes to dish it out to the guy making the tackle at the end of the play,” said Roth of Thomas. Thomas only carried the ball four times on the night, but he picked up 126 yards on those four carries. Matt Jeremiah scored the team’s third straight touchdown on an 11 yard scamper of his own.
The Tigers next touchdown was probably the play of the night, and it came from their special teams unit. Toczylousky returned a punt 61 yards, crossing from one side of the field to the other, and then finding the end zone. “I felt one of their guys grab me, but he just kind of spun me around. Then I just turned it up field to the right side, and all I saw was open grass and a couple of my blockers ahead of me,” said Toczylousky. The touchdown put Southern up 25-7 at the half, and it took the energy right out of the Shamokin team that came into the game with a boatload of confidence.
Southern would add three rushing touchdowns in the third quarter from Jeremiah, Marks, and Jake Potter to put them up 46-7. Yost connected with Mirolli to give the Indians their second touchdown of the night. Potter would score the game’s final touchdown on an 18-yard dash to give the Tigers their third straight convincing win. Southern will travel to a struggling Danville Ironmen squad next week. Shamokin will hit the road to meet up with the unbeaten Selinsgrove Seals.
SCA: 6-19-21-6 = 52
SHAM: 7-0-0-7 = 14
SOUTHERN COLUMBIA (3-0)
Matt Jeremiah 9-51, 2 TDs; Hunter Thomas 4-126; Brad Noll 1-6; Blake Marks 6-51, 2 TDs; Nick Becker 2-2; Jake Potter 4-54, 2 TDs; Jared Torres 3-18; Justin Derk 1-0; Dylan Kranzel 3-18; Nick Fetterman 3-14; Billy Marzeski 2-13
Nick Becker 8-13-0, 109 yds
Cameron Young 2-32; Blake Marks 1-16; Matt Jeremiah 1-3; Hunter Thomas 2-25; Mike Klebon 1-4; Jake Ryan 1-29
1st DOWNS: 22
Tucker Yost 8-62; John Demsko 13-37, TD; Preston Burns 5-10; Devin Pietkiewicz 3-2.
Tucker Yost 11-21-2, 139 yds, TD; Preston Burns 0-1-0; Nate Shurock 0-1-0
Logan Mirolli 3-95, TD; Tom Campbell 3-32; John Demsko 3-9; Preston Burns 2-3
1st DOWNS: 12
Final Shamokin stats courtesy of Damien Scoblink (Press Enterprise)
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